You can now find me on cactusandoak.squarespace.com where I will be blogging with my best friend. You can also find us on instagram as cactusandoak ! Hope to see you there!
Does anyone else ever just sit down and take everything in and think…woah, time is going by quickly? I just keep having these out of body moments that are hard to explain. I’m sitting here, cleaning house while my baby sleeps soundly in my bed…my baby…BABY. I feel like yesterday I was learning how to snap my fingers in my brothers bunk bed in California. And just like a snap of the fingers, it’s gone. Time. I’ve lost it without even noticing. I feel like much of my time has been spent not present in that moment. Instead, I have lived thinking ahead always. Through moves, tears, friendships, boyfriends, breakups, school and work…it’s been a constant journey of looking forward. I’ve rarely stopped and looked around to take in that present moment I was in.
I keep thinking of my mistakes, of my resentments towards old relationships that didn’t work the way I thought they would…friendships that were lost because of things that I still can’t even grasp. Betrayals by me, and people I thought would never betray me. As I grow, I daily find more and more imperfections, imperfections of my body, and mainly my soul. I also learn daily how to accept some things and change the things that I can. I haven’t conquered everything, not by a long shot…but then I think..at least I’m fighting to conquer them.
I hope I’m able to teach my son that growth isn’t something that stops one day, you magically hit 18 leave the house and know it all. You don’t know it all at any age. (Which beautifully could be linked to how some people think there is a certain acceptable age for marriage and children which usually has something to do with surpassing the age of 25 or 30 but I won’t get into that today) You also don’t have only one experience that molds into the person you are. You have experiences daily, you have the ability to change daily. Never stop changing, never stop growing.
Complacency is the thing I fear most. To be complacent is to give up on yourself. We can conquer anything that we wish to conquer. No matter how dark your soul feels, there will never be a complete loss of light. God is there in the darkest of times and the darkest of moments. God is the omnipotent and omnipresent.
I hope that no one I know or that reads this has given up on themselves or on God. I hope that I never give up on myself, I hope my son sees me conquering the sin I’m presented with and conquering failure too because there is bound to be lots.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14
“It is important to fight and fight again, and keep fighting, for only then can evil be kept at bay though never quite eradicated.”-Albus Dumbledore by J.K Rowling in Harry Potter and the half-blood prince
“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”-Gandalf by J.R.R Tolkien the fellowship of the ring
This next post was fun for me to read, it’s by my best friend Marisa. I felt a special connection because I watched her go through it, I remember some of those moments from an outside perspective. I watched her as she grew into her role of motherhood, spectacularly loving her babies and always doing what was best for them no matter what. Marisa is giving a very interesting point of view as a mother of two who was not able to breast feed her first baby (my godson Atticus who by the way ROCKS) and has successfully been breastfeeding her daughter Penelope (Romans future wife) for almost 7 months now!!! I hope you all love this, I know I do. I’ve been lucky to begin motherhood with a best friend by my side that has experienced a lot of the same things. Navigating through this journey with her to talk to about everything has been an indescribable blast. Again, this is a great point of view and I know you’ll just love it!
I always knew I wanted to be a mom but I never really gave breastfeeding a thought. I had seen people do it but it wasn’t something I thought about. But being a good mom was. So when I became pregnant I grew to learn more about the world of breastfeeding. I grew to learn about nursing vs formula. Organic formula vs non. I began seeing that if you’re a good mom you breastfeed. If you don’t that must mean you don’t love your child as much. Well of course I would love my son. I WOULD be a good mom that had a natural unmediated birth and breastfed. No matter what. It became this obsession. An idol. And God doesn’t like idols. Having a natural birth and breastfeeding became mine. I was consumed. I watched all the videos. Learned all the positions to nurse. I was prepared. Fast forward to me 41 weeks pregnant with Atticus. At my 41 week appt. my doctor tells me he’s huge, I won’t be able to birth him naturally. I :must: have a c-section. I was in a devastated blur. I was not prepared for that. I had my big boy (9.6) the next morning. As c-sections go I had a great one. No complications. No scares. All the staff were as nice as possibly could be. But I wasn’t ok. I was scared to death. I thought I was dying. I felt humiliated laying on that table thinking that everyone else was seeing my son and I wasn’t even really involved in his birth just a vessel holding him. The next few weeks were so blurry. I was heavily medicated. Sad. Trying to feed this baby while not feeding myself enough. I thought how could I be a good mom when I couldn’t even birth this baby the way I was supposed to. I would lay on the couch barely drink a whole glass of water all day. Eat basically one tiny meal a day. It was not the best equation for making food for my baby. So after a day of Atticus having no wet diapers at all we gave him some formula we were sent home with from the hospital. At the time I was really annoyed. Like how dare they send me home with this?? I won’t need it. I felt so ashamed that I had to resort to formula. I know now there is no shame. I wasn’t taking care of myself but I made sure my baby was happy. Once we found the formula that worked for us he grew to happy chubby baby. But I still wanted to try again.
So when I became pregnant with our daughter I thought ok. Well maybe I can try to have a natural birth and nurse this time around. I wasn’t afraid either way. I didn’t want another c-section or to buy more formula but I knew if it was Gods plan he would give me the peace I needed if it didn’t go that way. I didn’t want to make it an idol. I had our baby girl on Mother’s Day this year. I had a natural unmedicated birth (not worth it! Get the epi!) and have been exclusively nursing Penelope since day one. It hasn’t been the easiest and there are days I want to quit so badly. But it’s so sweet and worth all the pain and blisters. Every roll on her body I put there. Every ounce she’s gained is from me. I have been her one source of nourishment since God wove her in my womb. That amazes me.
My relationship with my daughter is not better because of how she was born. I don’t love her more or am a better mother to her because I nurse her. Anyone that knows Atticus and I know we are two peas in a pod. He’s my mama’s boy. The journey I’ve been on with my children wasn’t just between us. It was Between God and me too. He was working on my heart. I had idols. He broke them down. I learned that to be a good mama isn’t anything with how or even if you birth your babies. It has nothing to do with how you feed them. It is putting God first. Giving up what you think is best and trusting he will do what he thinks is.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Okay folks, like I said when I began searching for people to participate in this series, this is about feeding your baby…whether that’s by breastfeeding, or formula..or both! I will talk more about what I think when I finish the series with my journey but I’ve been so thankful for these different mamas and our different paths and being able to share them. This next post is by a sweet lady named Holly Stankowski, we met via Instagram through my fantastic wedding photographer as a mutual friend. I’m so happy Holly is sharing her journey with us and I enjoyed reading it immensely and I’m sure you all will as well! Enjoy! Thank you Holly!!!!
When I found out I was pregnant I immediately knew that I wanted to breast feed. There really was no question in my and my husband’s mind. It would be inexpensive and I was all about being financially responsible with a child. Gender-neutral baby stuff, cloth diapers and trying to be practical in a world that often temps otherwise.
Somehow a formula company found out I was pregnant…still not sure how that happened! They sent me some samples and coupons. I gave them to my mother-in-law who often cared for my nephew whom was a formula fed baby. I didn’t need them...or so I thought.
My daughter was born on a Wednesday. The gender was a surprise and I was thrilled to have a little lady to love up on. Plus we only had a girl name and no boy name that we both agreed on so it made that part easy! She was beautiful and I was in love.
At the hospital everything about breast feeding was wonderful. She latched immediately and had the right kind and number of dirty diapers. I met with the lactation consultant briefly and was sent on my way.
And then my milk never really came in. Family and friends spoke of this sensation and ‘knowing’ that it was happening. But it didn’t. I called the breast feeding line and was told to continue feeding and pump in between. I did that, but never pumped a full ounce at one time. And nursing was hurting and I had blisters…no one ever told me that might happen.
I was disappointed. And then my baby cried a lot. And I cried. I felt that she wasn’t getting enough milk. She nursed and nursed but it never seemed to be enough. On Saturday afternoon I packed up my sweet little babe and went to my mother-in-law’s for the formula. E drank an ounce and then part of a second ounce. And this was immediately following a lengthy breastfeeding session.
And that’s when I began combination breast and formula feeding.
And people asked how breastfeeding was going. And I was disappointed in myself. I felt that I was letting my husband down. I felt that I wasn’t doing what was best for my child. I tried herbs. I tried pumping. I drank more water. And I still had to keep supplementing.
And you know what? At some point I realized it was ok. Supplementing was what was best for my baby. It was needed to nourish her. And this was our reality and not only was it ok, it was perfect. For us.
My thoughts to new moms or seasoned moms: do what is best for you and your child(ren). Yes, breast is best, but sometimes breast isn’t best. It’s not best if you rbaby needs more nourishment that you can’t provide. It’s not best if you can’t produce milk at all. It’s not best if it is interfering with your ability to care for yourself – whether it be stress, sadness, frustration…anything! Do what works for you and give that baby an extra kiss and snuggle and simply enjoy.
Ladies, (and possibly gents) we have another amazing point of view from a mama on nourishing her baby. I love these, I love reading from other mom’s experiences and I think you will love this one. This is the story of Ben, Rachel and little miss Elinor Whitehouse. Rachel wrote her story just beautifully and I think you will all love and appreciate it like I do. I met Rachel on instagram and I couldn’t feel more blessed to have had the opportunity to get to know her! Again, I hope you enjoy this series and this post but I have a pretty good feeling you will. Thank you Rachel for Sharing! You can find Rachel’s blog at swankyanddapper.com ! Enjoy!
Rachel and Elinor
it is so easy to be selfish isn’t it? eat what we want. wear what we want. go where we want. do what we want, when we want. but i believe that life is a process of learning to be less self-involved and more self-giving. pouring into others. in life, you forge friendships, which help you to consider the needs of others. marriage is about two people becoming one—no room for selfishness there. and parenthood. caring for a life. nourishing a life. raising up a little person. that is a tremendous thing. and you can’t be self-involved if you want to do it well and raise a thoughtful individual. this is growth. this is life. a series of things that move you onward. refinement.
for me, pregnancy was integral in this. it was a shift in thinking. my body wasn’t just for recreational purposes. what i ate, how i moved, the position of my body. it all had additional purpose. it was sustaining another. for all those months, that itty-bitty life was reliant on me. what i did mattered more. it wasn’t about eating whatever tasted good or exercising to fit into my clothes nicely, it was about building a healthy little being. and then, breastfeeding. my calories were not my own. my clothes needed to be functional. the “ladies” weren’t just for show (not that i have ever had a lot of showing to do…). my schedule was dedicated to sustaining a life. and i took this seriously. i didn’t necessarily approach breastfeeding with warm and fuzzies. it was what i needed to do—what my body was deigned to do. and i was going to do what i could to support it.
those early days were just about digging in and getting through (much like everything is in those first days and weeks). you are trying to keep that baby alive and healthy and keep yourself functioning properly. you are adjusting. getting into a rhythm. a good latch. the correct position. let down. burping holds. nipple creams. breast pads. all that lovely jargon. thankfully, my hubby was home for the first five weeks after elinor grace arrived. and let me tell you, he was a gem. he attended to my needs. taking care of me so that i could take care of this new little life. he gave me my breastfeeding support supplements. my fenugreek. and made sure i had a constant supply of coconut water. he prepared meals for me. brewed tea. he sat with me for the 15 minutes on both sides. he supported me while i became accustomed to things. he researched my questions. he listened and tried to understand the wild and often unglamorous thing that is breastfeeding. those were great moments of not only bonding with my daughter, but bonding with my husband. bonding as a family. we got into our groove and learned to anticipate each other’s needs better. things started to feel natural.
those early days are peculiar days. i was in a blissful natural-birth, hormone cocktail stupor but my brain was buzzing. my body was tender but i have never felt tougher. i was fatigued but surging with energy. i was a changed person, i felt different but felt whole. schedules and supplements and swaddles. fast and furious. decisions to make. actions to take.
days were spent as a family but the nights were my private time to figure things out with my little girl. i observed her. watching her face. feeling what her little mouth was doing. learning her. connecting to her cues. i spoke scripture over her. i would softly sing and hum as i rocked. i knew how many rounds of edelweiss and amazing grace that it took to give her a full feeding on each side. those moments are hazy, yet vivid.
and then, after i came out of the wonderful fog of the first few weeks, one thing became clear. this is an amazing thing. the way the body quickly shifts from nourishing a baby in-utero to nourishing a tiny person. how the body heals from labor while working hard to produce liquid gold. to the way the body matches demand with supply. balances nutrients. and instinctively prepares for timed meals. intuitive. amazing. breastfeeding is the coolest.
over the next months, my relationship with my daughter continued to change and breastfeeding changed right along with it. she used to be solely dependent on me for her needs, a helpless little infant. but all too soon, my little girl became more independent. as she moved through her first year and beyond, she became quite the mover and shaker. and breastfeeding became our respite. it morphed from a time-consuming, mind-consuming, and energy-consuming activity to something more relaxed and simple, just part of life. moments when i could talk sweetly to elinor. pray over her. stroke her face. cuddle. and watch her as she responded to me with her eyes and momentary flirty smirks. it was more and more of a sacred time. and it was an easy time. the stuff that dreams are made of. and i will always cherish this. knowing that not everyone has this. knowing that even the next time around, i may not have this. heck, i might not even have a next time around…
those precious moments with elinor have always been protected, guarded. for me, breastfeeding is intimate. there is nothing sweeter than sitting in her room, slowly rocking, softly singing, and enjoying that time together. quiet. still. life is very much “on the go” and breastfeeding for us was a time to ease the pace. and while i am all for breastfeeding in public, and while there are definitely times when we have had to take the show on the road…i prefer the “slow food” approach to breastfeeding. establishing routine. constancy. safety. i wanted that time to be a sweet time. slowing down. getting away. a haven.
we always did scheduled feedings with elinor. it made things easier for everyone and she needs routine. it also allowed me to find a spot for us to get away and have our time together. she likes to know what is coming and when. this allowed her to feel at ease and know that she doesn’t have to get worked up about her next meal, she was taken care of. (what a great lesson for me, by the way. a reminder that God tells us not to worry about our life, what we will eat or drink…He has supplied it. He is on it. He takes care of us. we just have to chill out and enjoy His supply)
we dropped her evening feeding around her first birthday. i held onto that as long as possible because that was such a precious time to me. but i must say, it felt liberating when we moved out of that phase. it also allowed papa to play a larger role in bedtime. it became his official thing with elinor and it is darling to watch and listen as they giggle and read books and sing and say prayers.
around 15 months, we started scaling back our feeding sessions. i just followed elinor’s lead. she was more interested in the world around her and the food around her. and that is exactly as it should be. i still wanted her to benefit from breast milk and we both wanted that special time together, but our breastfeeding relationship was changing. we had kind of found our sweet spot. she was efficient. i was relaxed. it was enjoyable. it was tranquil. it was easy-breezy and not mechanical. and i struggled with letting go. i wanted to hold onto these playful and sweet moments with her for just a bit longer. the satisfaction that comes from giving myself to another. a daily reminder of unconditional love and a sacrificial life. but, i knew it was time to shift and to grow in our relationship. to find new things that would bond us. everything has a season.
around 19 months, we were down to just one morning feeding. i would wake elinor and before the day got too crazy, we would sit together downstairs and elinor would enjoy her morning “snack”. i would talk to her and sing and pray. and when she was finished, we would cuddle for a bit while elinor babbled about her dreams and what she has planned for the day. such a sweet time. we continued this routine for a few months and then i began to swap out a regular session for a bottle session…we had about a month’s supply of frozen breast milk to get through, after all.
around 22 months, elinor was officially done. instead of waking and doing her regular morning “nuzzle” she would just sit with me for a few minutes while we snuggled with her blanket and sucked her thumb. we chatted and sang and started our day. i was sad to see our breastfeeding relationship come to an end, but it was time. elinor was ready. she didn’t miss a beat or look back. onward, little one. she was ready for the next stage. and i guuuuuueeeeeessss i was too.
i never considered myself an extended breastfeeder or really even a proponent of such things. i am not loud about it. that’s just not our style. i just wanted to do it for as long as it made sense, for as long as I was able. i am a firm believer that our bodies are a remarkable creation capable of such cool things. but stuff happens. pregnancies don’t go as intended. births don’t always go like we outlined in our birth plans. complications happen. post-partum issues arise. everyone has a unique experience. and everyone makes choices – of their own volition or otherwise – about how they carry, birth, nourish, and care for their child.
now, i knew the value of breastfeeding and wanted to do it. i prepared myself and was intentional about it. i set a six month goal for myself. i was dedicated to the task. but, i gave myself some grace too. just like pregnancy and birth…sometimes the best intentions and plans just don’t pan out. and you know what? that is okay. it can even be good for us. we learn and grow. we soften. plus, there are PLENTY of mamas and babies that are properly attached and bonded and healthy who endured complicated pregnancies or medicated and cesarean births or who missed out on skin-to-skin time or who just couldn’t figure out the whole breastfeeding thing. the same way that parents who did everything “right” can still have a sick or miserable child. yes, what we do matters. yes, we have to be responsible parents. yes, i believe in being educated and prepared and purposeful. but, i also realize that it isn’t 100% on us. failure or success. it isn’t 100% on us. we don’t get to take sole credit for a healthy baby or a happy baby or a big baby or a smart baby or a cute baby. so, relax a bit. give yourself a break. extend grace to others. you don’t know their story. you don’t know their heart. you don’t know their child or their family dynamic. these are more life lessons that pregnancy and motherhood and breastfeeding have taught me. you just do your very best and cover it in a ton of prayer and live with grace. and be grateful. For what you have and what you have experienced. it is all a gift from above. and i will always cherish all those months of breastfeeding with elinor. it was just as i hoped but not at all like i thought or planned. “and she cherished all these things in her heart.”
Again, thank you so much Rachel for your story, and everyone check out her amazing blog at Swankyanddapper.com !
So happy to be getting these stories from other mamas to share our experiences together! Cant wait to see everyones! Here is my friend Rachel Trull’s story about feeding her son Tyler. Rachel is the wife of Jeremy Trull and Tyler is their first child (and isn’t he such a cutie?!) Thank you Rachel for being so willing to share your experience with us! Here is story #1 of my feeding baby series! Hope you all enjoy this as much as I am!
Rachel And Tyler
I wanted to breastfeed from the beginning. After Tyler was born, he latched within the first 20 minutes. My hospital was ok with him eating prior to doing anything with him, so they cleaned him up while I held him and fed him, then took him across the room for his checkup. We let him stay in the nursery overnight while in the hospital, but he nursed every 3 hours. We seemed to be great in the hospital.
When we got home, my milk didn’t really come in until two days later. He started spitting up every time he would eat and it felt like it took forever to feed him (1+hrs). Just to turn around and do it again. I was exhausted and frustrated. And we also had my in laws staying at our house which was more stress. I didn’t ever feed with a nursing cover because I couldn’t tell if he had a good latch or not, so this meant multiple trips to another room for him to eat (this part is important). I had also started pumping to try and reduce the amount of milk I was making: I read for HOUR and DAYS how to help, so I would pump until the pressure went down and then nurse so Tyler would get a ton of fore milk and no after milk. After several days of this cycle, I went for a consultation with the lactation nurse just to be sure I was doing everything right, and I was. But I was trying to over feed him. He was spitting up because he was full. Once I realized that, things got much easier! Less time to feed, less spit up, and fewer changes of our clothes. We introduced a bottle the day Tyler turned one month old, because we didn’t want to risk nipple confusion and needed time for my husband and he to bond so that the transition of me going back to work would be easier. Tyler slept in a pack and play in our room until he was 8wks old so we could have a good start with our bonding, establishing my milk supply, and getting to know one another and his sounds. My husband also had to get used to his sounds and such so we could be sure Tyler would wake him up during the night to eat and my husband would actually hear him.
Anyways, he woke up to nurse and would go back to bed. Things felt like they were straightening out, and then I went back to work. I work night shift, 7p-7a. That meant I had to pump. Thankfully this wasn’t a bad transition. I already had a small freezer stash, so I knew it would be ok. Thankfully I continued to make plenty of milk and we didn’t have to dip into the freezer stash right away.
Remember that part about not using a nursing cover? That meant planning trips around feeding times, because I’m not one to just “let it all hang out”. When I would get in a pinch, I would use a blanket in the car or find a bathroom I thought was “clean”. (With my next child, should we have one, I will learn to use a nursing cover from the start!!!!)
Meanwhile, Tyler was born at 50% across the board. His weight started slowly tapering off, but he was always happy and ate very regularly. I kept a feed journal for a few months so I could show myself that he was eating frequently enough. At four months old, our pediatrician said we could start rice cereal, with a spoon, not in a bottle. Tyler loved it, but he still had his tongue thrust and didn’t eat a whole lot. So we started only putting it in his bottle that he would have just before bed when my husband was home with him (3x/week). The other days he ate it with a spoon mixed with pumped milk to we could get him used to eating with a spoon.
When Tyler was 4.5months old, my grandpa passed away and I went with my dad to Oklahoma for the funeral. He asked if Tyler was coming and I said yes, because I’m nursing and it’s easier to take him than it is to pump and find a place to store milk for 2/3 days (middle of winter with lots of snow). My dad acted as though it was a burden and he was ready for me to be done breastfeeding.
This opinion was voiced by my dad numerous times because he wanted me to be able to get out of the house without my son. He felt I should be able to let Jeremy handle it and I wouldn’t have any duties. But I told him that’s not what I wanted. I wanted Tyler to have the best nutrition I could possibly give him, and that was breastmilk. He would ask “how long do you plan on doing that?” I said “a year is my goal”. Once I made it clear to people, I didn’t really get any more negative comments. People were impressed we made it so long, and I was so proud of us. Jeremy was so supportive, even in times when my supply was down, he would help wash pump parts and bottles and make sure I was eating and drinking enough. 64-70oz of water per day. Every day. But it was so worth it. As I’m writing this I still have milk in the deep freezer from last December. I won’t use it, and it’s not a whole lot, but it hurts my heart a little to think about throwing it out. I worked hard for it!
So now about the decreasing supply part: Tyler would still act hungry. We would warm pumped milk so he would have enough. I did what I called “power pumping” for an entire weekend to try and get my supply back up. (I could tell I wasn’t making enough because I would pump less that what he would eat when I was at work). Power pumping: I would nurse and pump right after for every feeding. I would nurse him to sleep, then pump. Then I would pump again before I went to bed (Tyler was only waking once at this point so I had 5 hours until I needed to nurse him again). When he started sleeping longer stretches, I would set my alarm to get up and pump. It worked. I did this at least three times that I remember.
I think this just about covers all of our journey except for “weaning”. At just under 10 months, Tyler would nurse five times/day, when he woke in the night, when he got up, before each nap, and before bed. By the time he was 11 months, he would only nurse when he was really tired. So, when he woke up and for bed. But, I had to be careful and make sure he was really tired, otherwise he would bite me. It was all really easy. Much easier than I thought it would be. We introduced a supply cup (? Idk when it was!! Maybe 6mo?) so when he started weaning from nursing I would use a sippy cup with breastmilk and whole milk combined in order to help him transition over. We never had any issues with milk. Or food. He loves to eat.
I am so thankful for the things I learned and questions I asked. One thing that really got me through was my “what to expect” app on my phone. I used it all through my pregnancy and even after. I joined a group for moms who had babies the same month/year as me, so we were all going through things together. I am still a member of it and still keep up with it. I told people all along that breastfeeding was one the hardest things I have ever done, and it was. But I want to do it again!
Love this post by my friend Rachel!
this whole “church as a business entity” concept drives me a tad bonkers. the focus on the target audience. the snazzy social media plan. the marketing. i know some of it is necessary. things need to be structured. you need to communicate. you want to do things excellently. but is all that really necessary?
maybe i am being naive or simple but shouldn’t the focus be on building up the Christ followers? teaching and equipping them for service. after all, the church is people.
remember the account of the early church in the book of acts? the followers of Christ went city to city sharing Christ with people. the message of the gospel was compelling and edgy and it drew a crowd. and when folks believed, they began to more formally gather together to talk about it and learn more. to grow and encourage and pray and worship.
the fastest growing religions in the…
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At 9:00 am on Monday July 28th, 2014 I was sitting on our guest bed with my mom in my pajamas chit-chatting when I received a phone call from the hospital wanting to know if I could be there at 10:00 am…yes in an hour…they so kindly clarified. I was set up for an induction that thursday due to my gestational diabetes. Thursday was my brother’s birthday and the day that my dad and brothers would be coming. I was ready for Thursday. Monday? not so much. I immediately lost control of my nerves. I asked if I could just keep my appointment for Thursday only to find out that I might not be able to then because of over-booking. You can imagine my joy. So, if I declined doing the induction (the next hour) then I may not be able to until the next week. Which would have meant my Dad and brothers trip would be useless. I told them I would call my husband and call them right back. Cooper was immediately excited and exclaimed, “TODAY? okay i’m coming home now!” I could hear the excitement in his voice. I was excited too, I’d been waiting for what seemed like forever to hold this sweet baby boy, but I felt like I couldn’t quite get my head in the right place of calm and peace. I called the hospital and told them I’d be there and that began what ended up being the most exciting day of my life.
In hindsight, which we all know is 20/20, I would have immediately eaten as much as I could stomach at the time. Instead, I chose to shower, thinking this would be my last peaceful uninterupted one for quite sometime. Again, looking back I think, you fool all you need is food!!! The above picture was as we were leaving our house for the hospital. The next time we would walk through those doors we would have our little boy in tow.
By 11:00 am, I was on pitocin and my Dr. (who I love dearly) had broken my water. I felt very lucky in the fact that I was already 4cm dilated for about two weeks before my induction. I sincerely thought because of that I would progress quickly…silly ole’ me. Instead, when I was checked at 3:00 I had only gotten to 5cm. It was rather disappointing being on pitocin and having constant contractions that I wasn’t moving faster. I decided then that I would get an epidural. I remember for a long time that I thought I would think less of myself for getting one. At that point, I knew my head was not in the right place to do this all natural. I couldn’t get peace and my anxiety was getting the best of me. I remember the look of relief on Cooper’s face when I said I wanted it. I know he couldn’t stand seeing me in pain but supported me no matter what. by 3:30 I had the magical juice and it rocked. I was able to take a short nap, and watch a little Harry Potter. by 5:45 she had checked me and I was at 9cm!!! His head was turned wrong so when she talked to the Dr. he said he wanted me to push once to see if it would engage him. The rest seems like a bit of a blur. I pushed with all my might and the nurse exclaimed,”I see his hair!” and immediately went to call the Dr. and tell him to get there! I pushed as hard as my body could possibly let me. Epidural or not I gave it everything that I had. I felt so present and so at peace. After a very short 15 minutes, my son was born at 6:55 pm. The nurses and Dr. seemed in awe of how fast it happened, and so did I!
As I held my son I couldn’t believe it, he was perfect. When they took him over to get cleaned up I felt an out of body experience. I sat there with the goofiest grin on my face. Little did I know things with me weren’t really going smoothly at all. I’m incredibly thankful I had a Dr. and nurses that stayed so unbelievably calm, cool, and collected. According to my mother I was losing a sickening amount of blood and as the seconds went by I was getting whiter and whiter. My mom has since told me she almost had to leave the room. I’m also thankful that my husband was completely focused on our son and had no idea what was going on until after the situation had been rectified. This scenario did however greatly effect my recovery period.
Overall, I had the best experience I could have ever imagined. I’m so thankful for the way I can tell my birth story and I consider myself incredibly lucky.
Nursery’s are something that I think ALL women can’t help but dream about, especially after you’ve got your wedding under your belt. Once the test reads positive, you can’t help but imagine what room your little one will be dreaming and playing in when they arrive. I knew right away I wanted a travel themed nursery whether it was a boy or a girl. Cooper and I love to travel, we tried to incorporate it into our wedding with maps, a guest book that was a globe and a few other special touches. I collect world globes and so it was easy for me to choose the nursery theme. I knew the second I was having a baby that I wanted that baby to dream big and see the world and experience different people and places just like I was able to when growing up. I had so much fun putting this room together, finding all of the little details made me so excited to see it all put together. So, here are some pictures for you to get a peek into my favorite space in our home! I can’t wait to bring my little boy home to this room!
This map, oh how I love this map. I found it a few months ago on Etsy.com and finally pulled the trigger and got it recently. It had to make it here from Australia and looking at the empty wall space behind the crib when I opened the door! It just got here last night and I had to hang it up right away! One of my favorite pieces in the entire room in this baby mobile. I have a serious thing for hot air balloons because they are so beautiful! This was such a neat piece I ordered from Amazon.com and it’s a Schylling tin hot air balloon mobile.
This is his changing table/dresser. I got the dresser at Ikea and I love it. This is a simple, cheap dresser that has lots of storage space. I was able to fit all of his cloth diapers in the top left drawer and all of his clothes separated by sizes in the right drawers. I also found the prints above the dresser at Ikea and knew they would fit in perfectly. We are planning on using disposable diapers until the bum genius 4.0 diapers fit him well and until he’s a little more on a schedule as far as changing goes! So, of course, it was important to me to get good disposable diapers and we had to go with the Honest Company. It was a very easy decision and they just happened to have the newborn size at Target WITH HOT AIR BALLOONS AND ELEPHANTS ON THEM. I also love the changing pad cover from Aden + Anais, it is the softest fabric and I was so happy to find something in a great color. That has been tricky as far as finding baby textiles and such because most baby products are more pastel (which is beautiful just not what we are going for) so it was a relief when I found this cover that fit in perfectly!
Okay, his little gallery wall is so special to me and I hope that one day it’s special to him as well. We have post cards from all over the world and prints that i’ve gotten that hold a lot of meaning. The large poster map of Italy is my favorite poster that I got in the Vatican hall of maps. On the right of that from top to bottom is a bear postcard that came with an order from Lady Noel who I previously mentioned in this post. In the middle is a custom art piece my brother had done for me for christmas this past year because he knows how much I love elephants, the back happens to be map so again, perfect fit for the nursery and I get to tell Roman its from Uncle Drew! Right under the elephant piece is my ticket into the coloseum, I tend to have a hard time throwing things away and i’m really happy I kept this because well obviously his name is ROMAN. Above the bear and Map of Italy is a custom watercolor done by Snoogs and Wilde who I found on Etsy.com. She did an incredible job and it is Cooper and my favorite vintage airplane a P-47 thunderbolt. To the left of that we have some postcards, one from Florence, one from Belgium and the lion is another from Lady Noel. The be brave little one print is one from MulberryPressCo. Above these postcards is a print from Etsy that says “decide what to be and go be it.” On the right of that are more postcards, one from Bergamo, Italy where my Aunt and Uncle live and one from my cousin Becca from Zambia when she spent a semester there! The bear print at the very top is from an Etsy store called Riverluna, I have several of their prints around the house they are done so well and are beautiful! The Red balloon print is also from MulberryPressCo. This one holds such a special meaning for me. I purchased it in memory of a little boy named Ryan and in support of his family. Ryan was a toddler that recently lost his life suddenly by being hit by a car. After his death, red balloons became a symbol of his memory and I am proud to have that hanging there, everytime I see it I will remember to hug my little boy a bit tighter. The last three prints are postcards, another from Zambia, Belgium and one from Rome. To the right of the gallery wall is a tin art piece given to me by one of my best friends and Roman’s auntie gabby. We have several more prints and post cards that I have to hang around it and then the room will be COMPLETE! FINALLY!
I hope you love this space as much as I do and feel free to ask any questions if I left out any products you’re curious about! Several special things, like a blanket Cooper’s mom handmade for Roman, are also in the hospital bag by the door waiting for this little man to finally get here! I’m sure you’ll see pictures of them soon!
On days like these, I sit and ponder the past. I’ll be the first to say, I don’t think it’s beneficial for anyone to dwell on and in the past wishing and hoping for a do-over. Quite obviously, we can’t go back to those days, all we can do is keep moving forward. However, I’m a firm believer in not forgetting the past, and every once in a while it can be incredibly beneficial to sit and think back on the good times that got you where you are today and the people who were on the journey with you.
As I go through the •thousands• of pictures on my phone (yes, seriously, thousands) I’m taken back through the past year and a half of my life and I can’t help but get a little sentimental about those wonderful days. I see pictures of when I got my wedding dress, when I married the most incredible man I’ve ever known, and when I got to see that man, my amazing husband, become a United States Airman at his graduation ceremony (and honor grad).
I saw pictures from my visits to Texas during his second part of training and I’m reminded of all of those special times and moments. Obviously it’s not all happiness as I also stumble upon the pictures from my first pregnancy and miscarriage, those are hard to see. Yet, I see this picture from the week I miscarried and I see my husbands arms around me tight, holding me and protecting me from my own thoughts and sadness.
I see his strength even in his pain and it’s so beautiful to me. I see a man who can’t stand to see me hurting and wants to make everything better. I see a soon to be daddy broken by the fact that this is a problem he can’t fix and hurting because he’ll never hold that sweet baby we had been dreaming of. Even seeing those pictures, the tough ones to look at and remember, I’m reminded of pure love and support.
I met this cute guy at the age of 16 in a movie theater not having a clue what life had in store for us. I couldn’t have dreamed up a more perfect love story, even with its imperfections along the way. We’ve helped each other grow in so many ways. He was the person I needed in life. He taught me how to be calm and relax and enjoy things without taking everything so seriously and worrying every step of the way. He’s taught me how to let go and live a life of happiness. When I say, he’s my other half, I truly mean it in every way. I was given exactly what I needed to help me grow into who I need to be and he’s still helping me daily with that.
I’m a young woman. I turn 22 years old tomorrow. In many people’s eyes, I’m •too• young to be where I am now in life. I’m glad those people didn’t make my choices for me because I can’t imagine my life differently. Besides maybe being a rock star, I have everything I could possibly need right now. I completely understand that different people want different things out of life. I get that not everyone dreams of just being settled and having a family, but I would hate to think people were out there thinking I gave something up to have what I have now. Like I lost something, when really, this is like a surreal dream to me. I’m looking back over the years and all of my choices and I made poor decisions, as we all do, but this life I’m living, as coopers wife and expecting mama, isn’t one of them. Does that mean it’s always easy? Absolutely not. Is it supposed to be? No, I don’t think so..life would be very boring if everything was easy. Does it mean I’m done growing as a person and adult? Definitely not! Am I absolutely terrified of being a mama sometimes? Of course, it would be crazy not to get a little scared when imagining being responsible for a human life! I wouldn’t change a thing though, even if I could.
I’m enjoying seeing where life takes us. I love being on this journey with my best friend. I love that Cooper loves me so completely. I love that he wanted a family just as much or possibly even more than I did. I love that he thinks I’m going to be the best mama to our boy and I •love• picturing him holding our son because he’s going to be the best dad. I love that no matter what happens he’s my partner for life. We could have made other choices, waited to get married and waited to start a family…but if we had, we wouldn’t have been making the choices that •we• wanted for our life together.
I’m going to continue walking down memory lane tonight, looking through all of these pictures and seeing pure happiness on our faces just because we have each other. I’m going to try and enjoy every second with this man, and as I welcome in a new year of my life I’m going to look forward to the many adventures to come with him by my side. Side note: I can’t wait to meet our son.
So, here’s to turning 22 tomorrow and being so incandescently happy.